It Seems So Surreal

Josh and I are excited to share with you that, after 10 1/2 yrs of infertility, we are pregnant!  Baby Parks is scheduled to arrive the first week of August 2011!!

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

A Must-See Video

I saw the following video on a blog that I follow (Aspire2) and had to share it.  It’s a must see…and then go hug your children and pray for those who never had a chance to enjoy this life God has blessed us with.

(for some reason, I can’t get it to embed…so to view video click HERE and then press play on the video.)

The Long and Winding Road

I’ve decided to add an additional page to my blog dedicated solely to (in)fertility and our journey to parenthood.   I get tired of  searching through my archives to find all the posts I’ve written on our fertility issues.  The new page will be a place I keep them all in order so that I can easily look back over the things we’ve experienced and remember how God has guided us through each step.

This road we travel is a long one and full of unforeseen turns and detours.  Often, our journey is smooth, without so much a bump or turn.  We speed through our daily lives, waiting for the next obstacle or sign for what’s ahead.  Other times, we have to slow down and process all that we face.  It’s during those rough patches that we have to fully hold on to God’s grace, strength, and peace.

Today, we are on some of the smoother roads.  Yesterday, I mentioned the good news that our first procedure worked, and that today I would be meeting with my doctor to discuss the next steps in our pursuit of parenthood.  Well…here’s what was determined:

Warning!!:  The following will include very personal information about myself in regards to women’s issues.  If you don’t want to know these things about me…then skip over.  IF you choose to read on, I warned you! 🙂  I share this personal information b/c I know many women (and their spouses) currently going through infertility issues.  Infertility is a medical condition that NEEDS to be discussed.  I KNOW that my transparency in this journey has helped many of these women, and I also know that talking openly about it has helped ME cope as well.

Apparently, I don’t ovulate.  In simpler terms, my body does not release the egg needed for conception.  Why? I have no idea…but we won’t do any of the expensive, painful tests to find out.  Instead, my doc is starting with a more simpler solution, found in small, round pills called Clomid (or Clomiphene).  This ovulatory stimulant will (hopefully) kick my ovaries into gear and make them work the way they’re supposed to work.

I’ve done some research on this medicine and I have mixed feelings.  For many women, Clomid works…but often not until several rounds of treatment have occurred.  The side effects vary with each woman, but can include (but are not limited to) hot flashes, upset stomach, vomiting, weight gain, vision problems, breast discomfort, and increased risks of Ovarian Cancer.  Many women also say they get really moody and emotional.  None of that sounds fun…and I really hope not to experience them over and over again.  Additionally, I already have GI issues, so I pray that the medicine doesn’t wreak havoc on my stomach and reverse the many months of treatment that I’ve had with my GI doc.  Oh…and I really don’t want to vomit or emotionally break down while serving my seafood entrees at work!  That would be horrible. (although, it might get me some pity and extra tips!)

The worst part of the treatment is that, due to the other issues Josh and I have had in regards to fertility, there is still only a 1 in 4 chance that we’ll conceive, even if the Clomid works perfectly.  Those don’t seem like very good odds to me…but I’m leaving it all in God’s hands, “He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!” (Ephesians 3:20)

Me on a Good Day

Looking back through my posts, I noticed a recurring theme: depression.  I will not deny that I struggle with depression; I have fought this sometimes debilitating disease since I was a young teenager.  However, depression is NOT a constant, every day battle.  It just so happens that when I do have a downer day, I tend to release my emotions through writing…and you, my precious friends, get to hear some of my moaning.

So, I want to share some of my thoughts during the good days of my life:

1. Returning from Ukraine.  (Which I wrote about HERE).  I KNOW there’s a purpose in our returning.  I KNOW there was a purpose in our going.  And although I have my moments of shame, confusion, and hurt, overall I am happy and content with the decision to return. My hubby felt it was the right decision, and I, in obedience to God’s calling on my life as a wife, am happy that I agreed to follow Josh’s leading.  By doing so, I strengthened our marriage, uplifted my husband, and honored God.

I am EXTREMELY proud of us for even stepping out into full-time mission work.  Many people think about what it would be like to pursue a passion, but they never do anything about it.  WE DID!  We sold our house & everything in it.  We gave up good, steady careers, and left all our friends and family.  We relied solely on God’s provision and trusted Him to be our strength as we adapted to a completely different culture.  We grew in faith and discovered God in ways that we had never experienced Him before.

Our time there was not in vain. Even in such a short amount of time, we were able to minister to the Ukrainians around us & challenge them in their beliefs about God, urging them to move from empty, religious practices into a meaningful relationship with Christ.  We formed life-long friendships that still bless us.

Above all, I’m so thankful that I have a husband who is willing to do whatever it takes to help his wife pursue the passions and visions she has dreamed of for so many years.  I don’t know what the future holds concerning full-time mission work…I really don’t think it will happen again…but I know that we’ll at least be willing to step out in faith to pursue whatever God lays on our hearts.

2.  Infertility. The truth is…I’ve never wanted children until a few years ago…and I only began to want them because I saw the deep desire in Josh to have children.  He’s experienced all the joys of fatherhood once before and has always desired to experience that again, but with me!  Our many childless years resulted mainly from my hesitations.  The last year or so has been difficult b/c  I know Josh’s heart…and his grief causes me grief.  More than anything, I want my husband to have the desires of his heart.  Most days I’m 100% okay with not having children.

Gasp! What?!?!

You see, my identity, purpose, and validation is not determined by motherhood; it’s found in God and His purpose for me.  What if it’s His will that Josh and I should never have children?  If that’s His will, then that’s what I want.  If He should decide to give us children, then I’m ready for that as well.  All I desire is to live a life completely surrendered to my Heavenly Father…putting my future into His hands…because I know that His plans for my life are much greater than anything I could dream of.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.     ~Jeremiah 29:11

My Struggle with Infertility and Mother’s Day

This Sunday is a big day for many women – Mother’s Day.  I’ve never had an issue celebrating this day…I have two wonderful moms in my life that deserve my attention and gratitude.  But I’m finding this Mother’s Day even more difficult than ever.

It’s been about one year since Josh and I were medically labeled “infertile.”  And it’s been a very slow year in the process of figuring out if we can even have children.  You may remember that in January we actually started the first medical procedures to possibly correct the infertility.  (You can refresh your memory by clicking HERE then HERE).  Well, tomorrow we go in for our first follow-up since the procedure.  A few tests will be done and we should know soon after whether the procedure was successful.  So, depending on those results, I may have a wonderful weekend, celebrating with growing hope that one day I will be celebrated as a mom.   But if the results show no positive progress…you may not see me at church this mother’s day…

This journey of infertility is so frustrating…just when I think I’ve come to terms with the possibility of not having children, little things chip away at my emotions until I’m suddenly an emotional wreck, and must admit “This is harder than I thought it would be”.  It doesn’t help when I’ve had 4 friends give birth in the last 6 months, have 8 (yes, eight) more friends announce pregnancies within the last 9 months, watched a baby dedication last Sunday, and now it’s Mother’s Day.  I’ve actually almost shut down my facebook account just because of all the hundreds of statuses and pictures about my friends’ wonderful children (or sometimes their naughty little ones).   Don’t get me wrong…I am sooo happy for my friends; I really do rejoice in the blessings they have in their lives…I’m not bitter, angry, or disgusted…I’m just hurting, confused, and trying to get through this…and daily reminders of this void in my life can be excruciating.

I know many of you who read this blog have children, and I know that you have genuine concern and compassion.  Sometimes in your wanting to show your concern, you say things hoping to help ease the pain…and even though I know what you say comes from from a loving, sincere heart, the things you say are often quite painful.  I read a blog this week about this issue and want to pass it along….I pray it helps guide you in how to approach & minister to a friend who’s hurting through infertility.  You can read it by clicking HERE.

Please be praying for our Dr. appointment tomorrow.  I’ll keep you updated.

Josh Interviewed

Josh was recently interviewed for a site that receives over 4000 visitors a month.

Go check out his interview at:

http://ac180.com/2007/11/06/ac180-interviews-josh-parks/

I was a drug addict and a single father – Jesus changed my life

The following story is Josh’s amazing testimony.

My parents were Christians and took me and my brother to church every Sunday. I remember when I was 12 years old I heard a pastor ask that if I was to die that night, would I go to heaven? That question scared me because I didn’t know if God would let me into heaven. So when they asked us who wanted to go to heaven to come forward and pray with them I think I was the first one to respond.

Well as the years went by church became less exciting to me and more of burden. Nothing in my life had changed as a result of my prayer that night. My only passion in life was to be in a rock band and party. I eventually started getting involved in drugs. I smoked pot everyday and even sold it occasionally. I would pop pills, trip acid and mushrooms, and even use inhalants to get high. I didn’t care about anything but partying.

I eventually found a girlfriend who shared my philosophy and we started sleeping together. She told me that she couldn’t get pregnant, so we never used protection. I didn’t care because I was just using her for sex anyways. Well, she lied and she got pregnant and we had a daughter. I didn’t let that stop me from partying but I soon realized that our relationship was not going to work out. So we separated and I was a single father at 19 years of age.

My mother approached me one day and asked me if I would be willing to get a DNA test done on my daughter and that she would pay for it. I told her it was a waste of money but I agreed. When I got the results back I found out I was not the father. My life was pretty messed up already from being a drug addict and when I got that news I completely lost it.

I remember wanting to kill my ex-girlfriend by blowing up her house or something. My father calmed me down and helped me figure out what I needed to do. I met with my ex-girlfriend and showed her the results and told her not to call me for anything. I never saw my daughter again after that.

As I drove away from her house I broke down and was crying my eyes out. My ex-girlfriend, who I had spent 2 years with, had cheated on me and convinced me that her daughter was mine. I was with her through her entire pregnancy and was in the room when her daughter was born. I even signed the birth certificate and gave her my last name. All this was a lie. My daughter wasn’t mine anymore and actually never was. My heart was broke.

I began to drink excessively and took as many drugs as I could to drown her memory. I remember taking so many drugs one night that I thought I was dying and was going to overdose. About 2 weeks later, I had taken some drugs at home and was lying on my bed waiting for them to kick in when I started thinking about all I had been through.

It’s hard to explain what happened next but I felt God speaking to my heart. He began to tell me that He loved me and reminded me that Jesus had died and was raised from the dead to forgive me of my sin. I felt so unworthy and yet so loved. I had seen what the world had to offer and it only left me broken. Nothing seemed to take the pain away that I felt. I believe God had delivered me and was offering me a second chance to live the life I was meant to live. I cried out to God for forgiveness and surrendered my life to God that night.

As I let God take control and he began to heal my broken heart. The next morning I flushed my drugs down the toilet. He had broken my addictions and I haven’t touched them since. God began to change me from the inside out as I meditated on the Scriptures. He took away the pain and anger I felt toward my ex and gave me the strength to call her and forgive her for what she had done to me.

That was the hardest thing to do but I knew that just as Christ forgiven me I needed to forgive her. After I forgave her it was like a ton of bricks had been removed from my shoulders. I was truly set free. Jesus Christ changed my life and gave me hope for the future and He can do it for you.